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What Does It Mean to be Optimized for Drupal? Part 3: Efficiency

Look up “optimize” in the dictionary, and you’ll encounter phrases like “get the most out of,” and “use best” and “modify to achieve maximum efficiency.” Those definitions fit in the case of Acquia and Drupal because we’re optimized in more than just one way. All told, there are more like dozens of different processes, products, practices and people that make Acquia and Acquia Cloud the most Drupal-optimized solution for digital experiences in the world.

It’s like having 360 degrees of Drupal expertise surrounding every Drupal site hosted on our platform. In our previous posts on why Acquia is optimized for Drupal, we covered both our commitment to web performance and security

But you still need to build your application before it can launch on our platform, and you’ll need to continue maintaining it thereafter. That can still be tricky, especially if you’re not familiar with Drupal best practices or the types of developer tools that might be available to you.

Developer Efficiency 

Fortunately, Acquia’s tools and interfaces were designed for ease of learning, ease of use, and maximum developer efficiency. In addition to the UIs and APIs we make available to our customers, we also provide command line tools and various integrations you can use to build, test, and optimize powerful Drupal-based experiences.

Some tools are fairly straightforward, like Drush, which streamlines developer operations. We support this on our platform and continuously update it to empower users who prefer using a command-line interface to manage their applications.

We are also on the verge of releasing the Acquia Developer Studio (ADS), a suite of tools that provides an opinionated (yet flexible) abstraction layer for the full stack of tools a modern Drupal 8 application will leverage.

The ADS Command-Line Interface (CLI), currently in public beta, is a self-contained cross-platform package for building and deploying Drupal applications, including everything necessary to host and develop locally -- and subtle enforcement of Acquia's recommended best practices. With the ADS CLI, you can build version-controlled Drupal projects with baked-in tools in a few short minutes.

The ADS CLI leverages Acquia BLT, another Acquia-driven innovation, to provide an automated layer for continuous integration workflows and the development of advanced Drupal projects. BLT saves setup and onboarding time while improving quality and collaboration through tried-and-true best practices. 

The ADS CLI also supports Lando and DrupalVM out-of-the-box, and it provides a wrapper for Drush and ssh-keygen, so your tools will never be more than one command away.

Finally, the ADS CLI automates all the steps required to create a Composer project, initialize a Git repository and define the origin remote, create and start a local Lando environment, and build and deploy the production codebase to Acquia Cloud, abstracting three tools and at least seven commands in the process. In short, the ADS CLI manages your application’s deployment workflow so you don’t have to.

Those familiar with Acquia will also know about some of our earlier innovations, such as Acquia Insight, which is available to all customers on Acquia Cloud. Insight leverages the Acquia Connector module to analyze your Drupal application and report back on any missed checks related to performance, security, or best practices. This functionality is an excellent example of how we take our day-to-day experiences troubleshooting and optimizing Drupal sites and converting that expertise into a suite of evolving tests any customer can leverage on new or existing applications.
Acquia also provides all customers with access to our Uptime Monitoring service, a Drupal-aware site pinging and alerting service. Designed to query sites and report on both response times and outages outside of Acquia’s control (application, DNS, or networking issues, for example), this service can notify customer teams about incidents with insights into the possible root cause, and it is even smart enough to know the difference between downtime and a Drupal site deliberately placed into Maintenance Mode. That last feature is something most uptime monitoring services don’t even know how to account for, but we’ve been doing it for years!

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One other Drupal feature you’ll find on Acquia Cloud that other platforms refuse to support is the ability to run multiple sites from a single codebase. For customers who prefer the ease of management associated with a Drupal multisite setup, Acquia Cloud empowers developers to expand from one site to dozens to hundreds without having to purchase a separate application for each one. And for customers who operate at a massive scale, we have Acquia Cloud Site Factory -- a powerful multisite management service that streamlines the creation and code deployment workflows for hundreds or thousands of templatized sites at a time.

Then we finish frosting the developer experience cake with other innovative platform tools like Acquia’s Log Streaming service and Stack Metrics, which were designed to give developers unprecedented visibility into key metrics and performance data.

Even Acquia’s expanding product ecosystem is optimized for Drupal, with Acquia’s site personalization engine, Lift, and our digital asset manager, DAM, both designed to integrate smoothly with Drupal. Combine all of these things with Acquia’s expert Drupal application support and Technical Account Management teams, and developers would be hard-pressed to find a more efficient, secure, and scalable Drupal experience with anyone else.

We could try and dive deeper into the weeds on every precise factor that contributes to this optimization, but given everything that’s already been noted above, the most powerful point to end with is a simple one. Acquia continues to support the largest and most complex Drupal deployments in the world year after year for a reason -- quite simply, there’s just no other platform as performant, scalable or secure as Acquia Cloud. And no one optimizes their infrastructure for Drupal applications with more hands-on expertise than Acquia.

DC Denison

Senior Editor, Technology Acquia

DC Denison has been messin' around with Drupal since 2007. He has been with Acquia since 2015. Before coming to Acquia, he was the technology editor at The Boston Globe.